MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY Set for NYMF Today
One immigrant's true story was so ridiculous, it inspired playwright Noemi de la Puente to turn it into a musical comedy. "Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty" will be included in The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) this July. The musical, which features music by Howard Post with book and lyrics by Noemi de la Puente, will be presented as a developmental reading at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St. in New York, today, July 10 at 4pm and 8pm and July 13 at 3pm. Admission is free.
"I was inspired by the true story," states Ms. de la Puente, "Of a brilliant Princeton undergrad who received a Rhodes Scholarship, then got into trouble because of his immigration status. He'd been brought into this country as a four year old by his mother. If he accepted the scholarship and went to Oxford, he could never come home again. The situation was so ridiculous: the bureaucracy and waste of talent. I felt if I didn't laugh I would cry. I was compelled to turn it into a musical comedy."
Ms. de la Puente continues: "It's funny, because that's how I write. But the point of the show is to get us thinking about passing The Dream Act, because there are exceptional children, raised under difficult circumstances, who still excel. Aren't they the types of people you'd want to have as citizens? I hope it will up-end any stereo-types you may have about immigrants."
"The music Howard has written is spectacular! He's so versitile! The music follows the character of Manuel on his journey; it changes as he changes. We hear Latin rhythms, Rock and Roll, Gospel and even Jazz! Howard composes on a guitar so the end result is very unusual for a musical comedy. It will keep everyone engaged."
Composer Howard Post, whose musical composition is often featured on television and in films, was up to the challenge of working on this political satire. The music combines Latin rhythms, American pop, rock, and gospel in the score. Mr. Post is a teacher of classical guitar and jazz, who performs regularly throughout the tristate area as a musician with his jazz ensembles.
Ms. de la Puente is a Princeton graduate (MSE), with an MFA in Theatre Arts - University of Iowa (Patricia Roberts Harris Scholarship). She is a founding member of the Dramatic Question Theater and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Director Jose Zayas will lead a cast of professional singers and actors for this staged reading. Mr. Zayas has directed over 80 productions in New York, regionally, and internationally. He is currently the Resident Director at Repertorio Espanol in New York.
Tickets are free and released to the public on an as-available basis beginning 48 hours prior to each performance. Platinum or Diamond NYMF Members and NYMF Patrons may book tickets online now. For more information about purchasing a membership, visit nymf.org.
To learn more about "Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty," or reserve a ticket, visit nymf.org/manuelversusthestatueofliberty.